Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Saint Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther

Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Francis. The Universal Church celebrates the life and heroic virtue of this young man from a wealthy Italian merchant family in the 13th century who chose to leave all to obey the gospel. As St. Francis' fledging order grew, he sought the approval of Pope Innocent the 3rd. He had a dream in which Christ  instructed him. "Go, Francis, and repair my house which as you see is falling into ruin." Initially, Francis thought this meant the broken down chapel outside his town but he soon realized Christ meant the universal Church. At that time, as in many other times in the history of the faith, the Church was in need of renewal.
  So Francis and his ragamuffin band of followers set out for the eternal city to have an audience with the pope and detail their plans and obtain his approval and blessing for this new order of  friars.
The initial meeting did not go well and the pope walked out on Francis as he lay prostrate before him in the floor dressed like a filthy beggar. But Francis did return and in the meantime God spoke to the pope in a dream and showed him a man that was balancing the Lateran Cathedral on his arm. This signified that this individual in the dream was supporting and upholding the very center of Christendom. Wisely the pope, knowing it was Francis in the dream, recanted and welcomed back St. Francis and granted him approval for his order. The Franciscans did indeed rebuild the Church and to this day continue to renew the Church. (For example, Father Groeschel and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal now in many inner cities throughout the world)

   When St. Francis was initially refused by the Church, he had a choice to make. He may have thought to himself: "Why would the pope refuse my request? Can't he see how much his Church needs me?" Right then and there, he could have decided to break from the Church and start a whole new religion. Instead, he quietly submitted to the Church and in a short time was given permission to proceed with his plans to renew the Church. (Some historians say there was a delay in the pope's decision, other readings said it was a short time)  Either way, the fruit of his obedience continues to be seen to this very day.

300 years after St Francis, the Church was again in need of repair and a German Augustinian priest decided to take the matter into his own hands and break from the authority of the pope and start his own religion. The fruits of this man's disobedience continue to be seen to this very day.

St. Francis pray for us.


Blogger George @ Convert Journal said...

This is a good and insightful connection. Similar to the different approaches taken by St. Padre Pio and Fr. Corapi, but on a larger scale.

All disobedience to Holy Mother Church hurts the Body of Christ. It endangers one's soul and scandalizes others.

October 04, 2011 8:25 AM  

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